Thigh of fowl, rib of pig, fillet of beef, chicken drumsticks, loin of lamb, breast of chicken, fillet of pork and chicken sausage. This is not a litany of the display cabinet at my local butchers but the selection of grilled meats I sampled, passing on only one, at dinner at Mojo’s before I belatedly realised that the only reason I was the sole remaining diner at our table was because I had my card on green!
by le connoisseur
Mojo’s is unashamedly carnivorian. It is modelled on a Brazilian Churrascaria, literally a barbeque, where meats are grilled on skewers over the embers of a fire. In keeping with the Brazilian theme, we commenced our evening with caipirinhas, a concoction of white spirit, freshly squeezed lime juice and sugar served with lots of ice. Very refreshing, but deceptively lethal. Meanwhile, the waiter explained the two course price fixed menu on offer for the evening.
Firstly, starter platters were brought to the table comprising traditional cheese breads served with succulent meat balls, spinach quiche, pork sausage in a crispy batter, individual beef pastries and cheese straws accompanied by a spicy Mojo’s sauce and a flavoursome Mexican dip.
The main course commenced with table bowls of salad, spicy rice and the best chips I have had the pleasure of sampling in a long time — golden and crisp on the outside, soft on the inside. Sauce boats of a creamy salad dressing and of a pepper sauce for the meat accompanied these. Then the waiters trooped in with their skewers of meat. You can have as much or as little of each as desired and can request the return of any for further sampling. Once you have had sufficient, or indeed just need a respite, flip the card from green to red and the waiter will pass you by. This is what I neglected to do, long after the rest of the party had thrown in the towel, and hence managed two tastings of meat not previously brought to us, as the waiters passed by to another table.
For me the trick is to eat sparingly of each so as to sample as many as possible, but the fault of this restaurant is to serve the meats without sufficient intervals between each. Consequently finding oneself with four or five helpings on the plate one quickly becomes overwhelmed and calls it a day. Each course has its individual flavours due to different bastings and use of herbs and spices. I found the chicken to be the most successful, moist and tender, and in the case of the breast, it was wrapped in bacon and stuffed with peppers so did not dry out in the cooking. The cubed beef fillet, pork fillet and lamb, to my mind, suffered from being too well-done but were redeemed with liberal helpings of the pepper sauce. The fresh salad with a mélange of greenery, tomatoes and cheese was light and refreshing and a good palate cleanser.
I was more than comfortably replete after dinner but a couple of our party opted for desserts and chose the sundaes which looked splendid and they were consumed with relish. I ended the meal with a very acceptable espresso while the bill was efficiently dealt with.
Mojo’s is situated in a charmingly renovated old house on East Road. Apart from the elegant indoor dining which extends to the enclosed verandah, there is also more casual seating in both the front and rear gardens. The gardens are a haven of peacefulness with extensive manicured lawns and lots of greenery punctuated with touches of white. The interior décor is contemporary with white and black offsetting the grey palette and with flashes of red adding contrast. Large windows afford views of the garden, which was stunning in the early evening twilight.
The bar is well-stocked and there is a cocktail menu. The wine list is well-balanced with an interesting array of premium range wines, unfortunately with prices to match. Service is attentive, the food is of a high standard, and at US$25 for the two courses offers good value. Just don’t invite any vegetarians!
In almost all respects our visit to Mojo’s was a first-class dining experience and one I would happily repeat. Although I am no expert on Churrasco, I would have expected more cuts of beef to be on offer and I do believe the experience would be greatly enhanced by a more leisurely serving of the meat courses.
Speciality Restaurant – Churrasco (barbequed meat)
Expect to spend US$30 to US$40 per head
10 East road, Avondale Harare